The FCC is warning that noncompliant VHF/UHF transceivers may not be imported, marketed, or sold in the US, nor may anyone use them. The FCC Enforcement Advisory, issued on September 24, follows an August 1 Citation and Order(Citation) to Amcrest Industries, LLC (formerly Foscam Digital Technologies, LLC), an importer and marketer of popular and inexpensive BaoFeng handheld transceivers, alleging that the company violated FCC rules and the Communications Act by illegally marketing unauthorized RF devices.
The FCC said that while equipment that transmits solely on Amateur Radio frequencies is not subject to equipment authorization requirements, some radios advertised and sold as Amateur Radio gear are capable of operating on frequencies that extend beyond the ham bands, and that it’s illegal to market in the US a transmitter designed or intended to operate on frequencies outside of authorized Amateur Radio bands, “if such equipment has not been issued a grant of equipment certification.” ARRL Assistant Laboratory Manager Bob Allison, WB1GCM, said the Advisory was good news for radio amateurs.
“It’s in the best interest of the Amateur Radio Service not to have noncompliant radios causing interference to other radio services,” Allison commented.
The FCC Advisory maintained that many of the imported radios at issue violate one or more FCC technical requirements. “For example, some can be modified to transmit on public safety and other land mobile channels for which they are not authorized, while others are capable of prohibited wideband operations,” it said.
The FCC said unauthorized devices may have the potential to negatively affect other communication services. Such devices that have not been authorized as required by the FCC may not be imported into the US, retailers may not advertise or sell them, and no one may use them. “Moreover, with only very limited exceptions, after being authorized, the devices may not be modified,” the Advisory pointed out.
“Anyone importing, advertising, or selling such noncompliant devices should stop immediately, and anyone owning such devices should not use them,” the Advisory stressed. “Violators may be subject to substantial monetary penalties.”
The FCC said that manufacturers, importers, and marketers should ensure that such devices are property certified and labeled as FCC compliant and not easily modified to operate outside their grants of certification. “Prior to purchase or operation, individuals should ensure that a device is either labeled as FCC compliant or operates solely within amateur frequencies,” the Advisory warned potential buyers.